Experts discuss the consequences of not playing by your own dating rules.
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By Elizabeth Heubeck From the WebMD Archives Whether you're new to the dating scene, a regular player, or jumping back into the game after a long hiatus, the same questions about dating rules apply: How soon do you lean over for that first kiss? Is it too early for a steamy make-out session? And last -- but by no means least -- how do you know when the time is right for sex?
From Stalemate to Soulmate. According to the singles whom Allen has encountered, boomers generally play by far different dating rules than young, something daters. While you can't apply a one-size-fits-all response to sexual dating rules regardless of age or experience, professionals who have studied the topic say it is a good idea to develop a set of prudent dating rules - before the big date.
By and large, Allen and other relationship experts endorse a cautious approach to the dating rules of sex. Her rationale for these dating rules may seem obvious, but many people tend to forget in the heat of the moment. Other experts agree that sex too-soon can lead to undesirable consequences. Learning the Steps for a Fulfilling Relationship.
Talk First, Act Later While not every dating scenario that involves sex leads to marriage or even a serious relationship, couples do owe it to themselves to talk about where they see their relationship going and how sex might change the relationship -- before they get in bed together. The woman may assume sex implies a commitment; the man may not see it that way," Allen tells WebMD.
Talk It Over with Yourself First Having an honest conversation with yourself about sex is just as important as discussing it with your partner, experts say.
When McClary refers to boundaries, she's not talking just about the physical boundaries that come with sexual territory. She's also referring to emotional boundaries.
To that end, McClary often tells women, "If you value a committed relationship, ask yourself, 'What do I need to do to stay emotionally whole? McClary believes all daters should invest the same amount of time conducting these 'self' conversations about personal dating rules as they do primping before a big date.
She also says the conversation, like the primping, should happen at the same time -- before that big date.
Practical Matters Once you've decided what you want out of a date, say experts, you should make it part of your regular dating rules to tell your partner. While a dating partner may not welcome this news, it at least can minimize later disappointments.
Continued So, too, does an up-front conversation about sexually transmitted diseases STDs. If, for instance, you're on the fence about whether or not to take sexual activity to the next level, a healthy dose of fear may cause you to pause, particularly if you're not prepared to take the necessary precautions.
Plus, not having adequately prepared for these practical aspects of sex may signal an overall non-readiness to engage in it. At some point during their courtship, many dating couples decide its time to break down initial boundaries -- be they emotional, physical, or both -- and engage in a sexual relationship. If both people are playing by the same dating rules, sex can serve as the gateway to a consensual, committed relationship. But overall, I have found that very often they want the same thing," Allen says.
Susanne Alexander, relationship coach; author, Can We Dance? When's the Right Time for Sex?